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Guides for Researchers

How can identifiers improve the dissemination of your research outputs?

Connect all your research products with your person identifier

  • What is a person identifier?

    You are probably familiar with persistent identifiers like the DOI (digital object identifier) for publications and datasets. A persistent identifier or PID is a long-lasting reference to a resource - a person (you!), a place (your organisation), or a thing (your publications, data sets, software, etc). Whatever resource it refers to, the primary purpose of the PID is to provide the information required to reliably identify, verify and locate it. A PID may be connected to a set of metadata describing an item rather than to the item itself.

    This guide focuses on PIDs that identify individuals, such as ORCID (Open Researcher and Contributor ID), ISNI (International Standard Name Identifier) and ResearcherID. Here are some examples:

    person identifiers

    Why would you get a person identifier?

    There are many reasons to have and use a personal identifier:

    • to distinguish yourself between others with the same or a similar name;
    • to enable others to find all your outputs/related outputs, affiliations;
    • to use different versions of your name without losing your research profile, e.g. Jonathan Brown, J.Brown, or Jon Brown;
    • when changing jobs your “history” stays attached to you;
    • to access or sign up to services, e.g. funding management portals, the Zenodo repository, ResearchFish, etc.
  • How it works

    How can identifiers link your work to you?

    Identifiers associate you with your research products, which allows you to have a complete digital picture of your research output. You can link other information about yourself, including affiliations, qualifications, honors and distinctions, service, memberships, funding, blog posts, and provide a full CV of your activities. Other organisations can, in turn, use your identifier to link outputs and other information to you in their systems.

    Some person identifiers have to be created by a registration agency, others you create yourself. In this guide we are focusing on ORCID, which is an open PID that you create yourself. Also, you control who you share it with. An ORCID iD is interoperable, so information in one system can be used to feed into another.

    How do ORCID iDs work?

    ORCID provides a unique, reliable identifier (an iD) designed specifically for the research community, which connects you with your research contributions and affiliations. You can register for an ORCID iD here Registration only requires one version of your name and a valid email address. However, we recommend that you also add any publications or other works, as well as relevant education, employment and funding. For more information about how to do this -- or to give your organisations permission to do so on your behalf -- please see: Add works to your ORCID record.

    Your organisation probably has a so-called CRIS (Current Research Information System), where research staff register their output and activities. If your CRIS is integrated with ORCID, then when you add your ORCID iD to your CRIS profile, the output linked to you can automatically be added to the ORCID profile. And, if you use your ORCID iD when publishing a journal article and datasets, those outputs can also be automatically added to your ORCID profile.

    This video explains how auto-update works, particularly in the context of Europe PMC:

    What does it look like?

    The green ORCID icon ORCIDiD icon24x24 (as shown in this image) indicates that a researcher has used their iD. It is typically linked to the researcher’s ORCID record, where you can see any publicly available information about them:

    ORCID icon example

  • Benefits

    You’re part of a worldwide community

    The ORCID iD not only links your research output to you, but also to the other systems you use. Here’s a blog post that demonstrates this sort of connected research in action: "Connected Research!"

    Initiatives such as the FREYA and OpenAIRE projects build a quickly expanding network of publications, data, software, researchers, research funders and grants. PIDs are essential for connecting all this information. The resources that are identified with PIDs and the relation between them, can be described in so-called PID Graphs or Research Graphs.

    FREYA’s PID Graph - all this can be connected using a personal identifier

    FREYAs PID Graph

    Costs: Free to register, and 5 minutes per month to keep your output up to date in the systems you use

    Getting and using an iD is free for researchers - ORCID is supported by dues from its member organisations. And, while five minutes may be an understatement, once you’ve set up your ORCID record, keeping it up to date is very easy through auto-update. Simply use your ORCID iD whenever you’re prompted to do so, give your trusted organisations (funders, publishers, institutions) permission to update your ORCID record, and periodically check for other updates using ORCID’s search and link wizards.

    Check out this blog post for Six ways to make your ORCID record work for you!

  • More information

    This guide was co-authored with Frances Madden (FREYA, and Alice Meadows (ORCID,

    FREYA    ORCID Logo Horizontal 

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